I lost my cool after a co-worker sent an email calling out IT for not doing their job (totally unfounded, btw). When I went to investigate the issue, she confronted me and I snapped at her briefly. She contacted HR and I apologized in writing, stating I know it was unprofessional, inappropriate, and it won't happen again (which was the recommended course by my supervisor).

HR asked me if I wanted to do a sit down meeting with her to discuss our conflict, to which I responded no. It was a one time issue, I apologized, it won't happen again, and I considered it over. HR said they would tell her I wasn't interested in meeting.

Email from HR today requiring me to sit down and discuss with HR and the person I snapped at. Am I required to go? I'm not a fan on conflict (who of us are), but I'm not too happy that HR is forcing me to go sit in a room with the person.

  • 8
    Would you elaborate what was the confrontation and your "snapping" actually? Was the confrontation civil, as-a-matter of fact, or rude? Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 23:16
  • 20
    Are you sure you're not downplaying the "snapping"? Is this someone known for being overly sensitive, or were you maybe more aggressive than you realized? It just seems like some info is missing that would explain why HR got involved.
    – Kat
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 18:29
  • 16
    It when HR wants to meet with you without the other person is when its time to get worried. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 17:57
  • 8
    What happened next?
    – Strawberry
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 10:25
  • 9
    Pretty much any time HR "invites" you to a sit-down, it's not optional. What probably happened is that the other person said they wanted the meeting, which would require your presence even though you didn't want one. And you probably should expand on what actually happened. The current wording could indicate anything from you raising your voice for 3 seconds, to you violently hurling the keyboard while screaming & cursing her entire lineage as well as that of her pets.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 18:49

15 Answers 15


Email from HR today requiring me to sit down and discuss with HR and the person I snapped at. Am I required to go? I'm not a fan on conflict (who of us are), but I'm not too happy that HR is forcing me to go sit in a room with the person.

If you are in the position where HR is requiring you to go to this meeting, you go to this meeting.

Just because the conflict is over for you doesn't mean it is for her. Conflict resolution isn't "well I'm over it, she was immature, so I'm not going" (which appears to be your attitude).

You can choose not to go. Keep in mind this is probably a lot more severe of a situation than you realize. It is not good to ever be referred to HR for anger management problems which result in episodes at work, let alone to ignoring a required meeting to address them.

Ignoring this meeting is likely to result in significant problems for your continued employment at this company. At the very best case you will have a reputation for being "that guy" and no one will want to bring you onto their team.

  • 119
    Agreed, not going is as good as sending his resignation. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 21:07
  • 16
    @DanK Don't demand, ask. They will really just be willing to oblige. However, I think the unwillingness to talk it out is far more likely to stick in than the snapping being reported itself. In fact, I think you are grossly exaggerating the effect this has on one's career.
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:51
  • 22
    @DanK responding to a second followup request for conflict resolution with a warlike and confrontational attitude is not going to help the OP one bit if their goal is to have a meaningful career at this company.
    – enderland
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 14:24
  • 26
    The purpose of HR is the same as the purpose of the Health and Safety people in a Facilities department; to prevent the company being sued. They're certainly not there to advocate for the OP, not are they there to advocate for his aggrieved colleague. They care about one thing and one thing only; avoiding a lawsuit. OP needs to go to the meeting; he needs to be genial and apologetic; and he needs to exude an air of "I'm part of a welcoming corporate culture that doesn't create hostility". Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 14:29
  • 16
    @Jasper I'm not so sure. I think they are on the company's side at all times, but sometimes that happens to coincide with the employee's side.
    – Cronax
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:47

Go: No two ways about it.

Be suitably contrite and unflappable. No matter WHAT this person says, do not show your temper. Express your deepest regrets and make the reason for your initial reticence the fact that you do not enjoy conflict.

Make your first words to your coworker, "I'm sorry this all happened, and I'm sorry you have to go through this again here". That will put you on the most reasonable footing.

Then, shut up. Anything you say other than an apology at this point will put you at risk. HR is NOT your friend.

If HR takes up for your coworker, say "Yes, I know, I was out of line, which is why I sent the letter, I am VERY sorry this happened, and I want you both to know that I deeply regret my actions and I will ensure that I am making every effort to ensure nothing of this sort ever happens again."

If HR is in the mood to have your coworker offer an apology, accept it quickly, assure all concerned that there are no hard feelings and that you look forward to working together at the company.

You were in the wrong, do not under any circumstances try to defend or excuse yourself.

  • 44
    They are not her friend either. They don't take sides. They protect the company.
    – selbie
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 22:04
  • 147
    You can't make the assumption that HR isn't her friend... only that they arent yours. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 22:35
  • 6
    +1 for "You were in the wrong, do not under any circumstances try to defend or excuse yourself." You've done that in the question ("(totally unfounded, btw)") and it's just asking for the other party to argue back.
    – thelem
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 22:47
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    If she sent an email that called out and embarassed other team members, she was also in the wrong and HR should address that. There's a difference between finding the root cause of a delay and trying to shame people into working harder.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 22:51
  • 16
    This is the best approach, but also document, document, document. HR now has a document from your accuser in your file. If you feel that the accusation is unwarranted or that the information they have may not be correct and that other individuals present would generally agree with you, you may want to consider gathering info from them to clarify what took place. You don't want to miss a promotion years down the line because the only documentation of the incident is her inaccurate statement.
    – DSway
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 0:02

I work in IT, and gracefully managing users who misunderstand tech and misunderstand IT's role is a key part of the job description.

Even if her claim was "totally unfounded", as you claim, it is still your job to efficiently fix the issue, diplomatically correct the misunderstanding (to whatever extent possible), and if that doesn't work, you escalate to your IT manager to back you up (if you have one).

Yes, you need to apologize for snapping, and if that gets you through this meeting, then you'll be fine.

But just in case, you probably also need to do some defensive planning beforehand about the underlying issue:

  • Do you have an IT manager who can support your contention that the claims in her email were wrong?
  • Do you have a paper trail (emails, ticket history), that shows you making progress on the issue, or documenting the steps taken?
  • Any other product documentation or vendor support pages you have showing that your interpretation of the problem was correct?

Come prepared with this material, just in case you need it.

  • 11
    While the currently high-voted answer is fine for the part about the actual meeting, this answer seems essential ot me as well ("... is a key part of the job description..."). A combination of both of them would be nice.
    – AnoE
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 16:43
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    @AnoE I agree, having evidence to defend your case should it come up is very important in this case. I wouldn't lead with it or bring it up, but if it does come up, it's important to have evidence to defend yourself.
    – jfa
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:37
  • Exactly. I suspect the meeting will encompass the underlying issue that coworker was upset about, not just the later exchange.
    – BradC
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:47
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    Cotinuing JFA's point I would stress that unless HR wish to make the scope of the meeting entail the co-workers letter, then that is a separate issue. Irrespective of the fact that it was the reason for your snapping, I have to assume your snapping is the reason that HR requires the meeting. If you are unhappy with the co-workers letter, that is a different HR meeting that you request where the co-worker is in the defensive.
    – Toby
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 17:47

Most the above answers are TACTICAL: "go, because that's better for your job/career path."

This isn't wrong, but lacks something: your self-awareness. Based on your hesitance, it seems that you think you're right, HR is wrong and the woman is both wrong and ignorant on the substance. This would be completely beside the point, even if that's true.

You should go because you will increase your self-awareness, and it will help you avoid this in the future.

  • 1
    +1 for having the most original display pic I've seen on this site. Also for the actual point about self-awareness; ideally the OP should learn from this experience rather than just wind back up in it again later, at which point HR might see his behavior as forming a pattern.
    – Nat
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 13:37
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    I got a Review request of Low Quality Post. I fail to understand why this post is low quality. It is an answer. Is it a perfect answer? Maybe not. But, it is definitely not a low quality one. Would the user, who raised the flag, mind explaining what's wrong with this answer?
    – Nobody
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 14:13

Email from HR today requiring me to sit down and discuss with HR and the person I snapped at. Am I required to go? I'm not a fan on conflict (who of us are), but I'm not too happy that HR is forcing me to go sit in a room with the person.

From what little description you've given us, yes, it would seem so. Of course no one can force you to go to a meeting you don't want to, but that's likely to be written up on your record and give you a bad reputation with HR and your manager. Just go to the meeting and try to patch up the situation as best you can.

If you're uncomfortable with conflict, then maybe you shouldn't have started it in the first place. In the future when someone makes unfounded accusations against you, let your manager handle it. If you are the manager, then give yourself some time to cool off before figuring out the best way to respond.

  • 23
    -1: "If you're uncomfortable with conflict, then maybe you shouldn't have started it in the first place." Not only is that not helpful at all, it's also just not how that works.
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:57
  • 1
    David, I agree that the asker is required to go, but it's perfectly arguable that the conflict was started by the co-worker (when they sent the e-mail saying that IT was not doing their job) - and not by the asker like you say.
    – ANeves
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 15:31
  • 1
    @ANeves The conflict I was referring to was seeking out the coworker while still angry about the email. A little restraint would have prevented this entire situation.
    – David K
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 15:48

"I'm not a fan on conflict."

Conflict avoidance is why conflicts remain unresolved. Be a bigger fan of conflict, because conflict is (or should be) a process by which relationships improve.

If I were in your situation, I wouldn't wait for HR to send me to make things right. I'd make it a point to increase my communication with the coworker in question, in general—not to get HR off my back but to increase the quality of my intra-office relationships.

Think of it this way: are you going to the meeting because HR is forcing you to, or are you going to the meeting because you want to actually solve the conflict? It should be the latter.

  • 6
    Increasing communciation with her before the meeting could be easilly misinterpreted and lead to the OP being in deep trouble.
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:08
  • 4
    This should have been the OP's solution originally but since the individual has gone to HR it would be better to now cease all contact with her unless absolutely required as part of his/her job.
    – user48276
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    These are both valid points. I should have used past perfect tense rather than present in my second paragraph. My overall point is that being proactive about resolving conflicts (in person, if in the same office, which is true for the OP) rather than having to be told is generally more effective. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:16

There's a number of answers here already, but while they all agree that you should go, I think there's still some more to be added to the answers.

Should I go to this meeting?


Is this a strike that will count against me for the rest of my career?


Many of the other answers and comments give a firm "yes" to this answer, so I guess there are definitely cultures in which it is. However, where I'm from, I don't think it would be. This also is in line with the HR department being against you or being there just to prevent lawsuits. They may be in another country, but they are definitely not in mine. You will have to gauge their position yourself, I am afraid, as it can vary even from one company to the next.

However, also consider that there may not even have been a complaint to HR. Instead, the person in question may just have wanted to talk it out and when she felt that she couldn't get you to do so, approached HR for a helping hand in that.

Should it have gotten to the point where they demanded this?


A question should have been enough. If someone lets you know they would want to talk about an incident that happened, you should. Even if you think the incident is done and closed, this clearly shows that the other person does not and that should be enough reason to talk it out. Whether the question came directly from the person you snapped at or HR shouldn't matter in this.

(Of course it coming from the HR department gives you some leeway to separate the question from the request that was the intention behind it, opening up the possibility for an answer like this: I wouldn't particularly like to do so, but I will.)

Was there anything before that I could have done differently?

I won't tell you that you shouldn't have snapped. Of course you shouldn't have, but it can happen and I can't say that I never have. However, I will say that you should have talked to her sooner.

Unless your manager specifically stated that he wanted to you to apologize by email, I think it would have been better to apologize in person. Apologies that aren't handled face to face have a tendency to feel "flat" rather than sincere. On top of that, it also leaves little room for a response.

Having made that apology in person would probably have prevented things from getting so far out of hand. It may even have gotten you an apology in return.

Is there anything I should avoid now?

Yes, do not bring up the situation that led to you snapping. Don't be afraid to discuss it, but also don't bring it up.

This discussion will (probably) be about you snapping. Don't confuse that with the events leading up to that. If your colleague (or the HR department) brings it up, you can say something like this:

I think it was uncalled for to claim we weren't doing our jobs. However, that does not absolve me from the fact it was wrong to burst out like that.

If then they still want to continue talking about the events leading up to your outburst, discuss the situation. You've clearly stated it doesn't excuse your behavior and clearly made the disconnection between her being wrong in the first place and you reacting disproportionately.

  • "clearly made the disconnection" -- I think this is extremely important, to avoid describing the email as the cause of the snapping. Because if it was then the questioner is doubly wrong. Wrong for snapping, but also wrong for responding to the email by marching right over to the desk of the person who wrote it and then snapping. If the email caused upset and anger, then responding to it by going over there guns blazing was already wrong even before the snap. So saying that the email was hurtful is counter-productive. HR does not believe in "she started it"... Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 20:15
  • @SteveJessop I assume it was more of a snowball thing where one thing led to another and tensions rose on both sides until it reached the breaking point for the OP. Still, you are right, making the disconnection is important, and "she started it" doesn't mean anything in the grown-up world.
    – Jasper
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 10:22

This one has gotten a lot of great answers but there are some points that I think are worth adding, yet.

1) That they want you to sit with the person means they see it as an inter-personal conflict. They wouldn't (or really, really shouldn't) do a face-to-face if this were a discipline matter. (Caveat: some organizations get this VERY wrong and have people who allege abuse or assault face the ones they're accusing. This gets them in the news.)

2) Is there any chance, maybe, that when you snapped, you said something that may have referenced something personal about the person? Their gender? Age? Ethnic background? Pronunciation, language skills, weight, marital status, pet ownership, typing skills? If so you will need to make a very good argument that that was "not you", and double down on your contriteness. And hint: all of those examples are NOT equal.

3) Is this a pattern? Be real. Has it happened before?

You should expect this to amount to an opportunity to apologize and make a credible won't-happen-again promise. If the topic turns to any specific followup on your part--sensitivity training, anger management, counselling, or any kind of discipline--you should insist to discuss those suggestions in private with HR. It would not be appropriate for the complainant to be privy to any of that. In general, in offices, the aggrieved party doesn't get to know what they do to the bad guy. You have the right to privacy in those respects.


Yes, you are required to go as HR has stated you are required to do so.

Although this is about a specific incident that caused conflict, look at it as an opportunity to fix the negative view this employee (and more than likely others as well) have about IT "not doing their job".

If you say this is "totally unfounded" then you may be able to clear the air as to why she thinks things were not getting done and what was actually happening on your end. Having HR there to moderate helps keep emotion out of it from both sides.

Instead of looking at this as being forced into more conflict, think of it as a way to prevent conflict in the future.


Enderlands answer addresses most of your question well I think.. The TLDR Being yes you have to go to the meeting.

That does not mean you can not prepare for the meeting properly.

First talk with your manager. If there is one person who can and may help you in this situation it is your manager. I will guarantee your manager already knows about this upcoming meeting so it is not like you are going to be surprising them, or alerting them to the situation. And do this at least a day preferably longer before the meeting.

Your manager may be borderline about if you should get written up or counseled or more drastic action taken. HR is not likely to take any action with out your supervisor being on board. So have the discussion with your manager, fall on your sword(metaphorically), apologize for making the team look bad and ask your a manager for guidance in how to handle it. Be prepared to take notes and write what ever guidance is suggested down, then follow it.

The goal here is to demonstrate that you want to be a good team member, and this is a one time mistake you will not repeat. Your manager will probably suggest some way to handle that problem in the future, Just agree and say that is a good idea(yes even if it isn't, or doesn't feel helpful). In the meeting with HR use that suggestion for explaining how you are going to avoid this in the future.

If you have a good relationship with your manager you might even be able to get them to sit in on the meeting. This will shift the HR person inclination to take action away from you more more towards the other person. The reason is that HR is there to support the business, Managers are HR's customers so they always want to make managers happy.

In the meeting stay friendly, contrite, and apologize for the hurt feelings. Follow the suggestions of your manager, but spend the meeting listening far more than you talk. Nothing you say is going to make this a "Good" meeting. Your best hope is a meeting where no action is taken against you, and nothing negative is put in your file. But you are at risk of potentially being terminated or written up. If you do not take this seriously HR and management is more likely to come down hard.

  • 2
    You should not 'apologize for hurt feelings'. You should apologize unconditionally for something objectively wrong that you did, if you did it. First, 'I apologize if I hurt your feelings' is conditional on there being hurt feelings, and doesn't express any acknowledgement that you actually did something wrong. Second, it allows for hurt feelings even if irrational or even baseless to define you as in the wrong: a victim-defined crime. You need an objective standard of proof both ways, and 'hurt feelings' isn't it.
    – user207421
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 2:14
  • @EJP - I Disagree but fair enough. Your reasons for not wanting to apologize for hurt feelings are my reason why I would. Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 2:57
  • I can't make head or tail of that. Either there has been an objective offense or there hasn't. Hurt feelings have nothing to do with it. If HR disagrees they are (objectively) wrong, and fostering a culture of complaint. Furthermore, as the OP has already apologized, he should certainly not have to do so again. The meeting suggests that the original apology has not in fact been accepted, in which case it isnow perfectly in order to withdraw it and have the whole matter re-heard from scratch. If the OP is just being asked to repeat an apology it is redundant.
    – user207421
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 9:45
  • @EJP - The meeting is not about apologizing. You are focusing on that part but that is just a small part of what is going on in this meeting. This meeting is about putting this issue to rest or ferreting out if there is a deeper problem that needs addressed, mainly if the OP or possibly the Other party need to be separated from the company. The OP can not affect negatively the outcome of the other party, the only thing they can do is affect their position. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 15:41

All the answers saying you've got to go are right, up to a point. If the meeting hasn't happened yet, you might enthusiastically say you had recently been thinking along the same lines, but for a meeting with a broader scope. You want to discuss her Email too.

Unless HR in your company runs the show (perish forfend) your boss can say you're too busy - he can't spare you.


There is an issue that needs fixing if you have to be forced to sit down in a room with one of your colleagues.

You also need to discuss the underlying IT issue, either in the HR meeting or after you and your colleague are back to being able to discuss it rationally. You are convinced her criticism is "completely unfounded" but she may not yet be convinced, and your behavior may have made her feel that she cannot follow up on it.

First think about it from her point of view. If you continue to feel her criticism is unfounded, put together a rational explanation of the situation that will help her understand what is going on, and why she is apparently not getting what she feels she needs.


You gotta go to the meeting, but...

Next time, don't apologize... especially in writing: It's just ammo for her and all the proof HR needs to take disciplinary action.

Do nothing and act surprised when HR talks to you about it - ask when this is supposed to have happened etc. Deny you snapped and say "I'm really sorry you interpreted my response as 'snapping'. I value Alice and her input. I'll work on making my manners extra nice when interacting with her." and leave it at that. Be vague on the interaction, is if it was unremarkable and not worthy of committing the details to memory. They won't be able to touch you, and it will make Alice seem like the "problem".

Also, it leaves the door open for you to lodge a formal complaint against Alice lodging a false one against you if she ever does it again. Then you may actually gain the upper hand, because lodging unsupported complaints is grounds for harrassment.

IMHO, she's being a baby and she should get over it. And you should get back to doing your job asap.

  • 2
    "Don't apologize, especially in writing" are you saying this because you think that OP should be lying about the interaction? In an office setting, it's very unlikely that nobody else was present, and lying is not going to do them any favors. Besides, apologizing for their actions shows acknowledgment that their behavior was wrong - and it was wrong to snap at them. Overall, this is an extremely toxic and poorly-advised course of action.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 14:33
  • 4
    @Zibbobz that's your opinion. An apology in writing is irrefutable admission of guilt and OP is on trial right now; don't give them more evidence against you. HR lives for this stuff... they want to go deep on issues, it gives them purpose in life and makes them feel powerful. Don't lie about the event taking place; downplay it. It wasn't clear that anyone overheard, and even if they did you should still downplay it eg "I was passionate about the idea, and that came out in my response". You have to be smart when it comes to HR; they are more like a legal team than an administrative one
    – Bohemian
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 14:43
  • 2
    With all due respect, that's your opinion too, and jumps to a lot of conclusions about OP's HR department - namely that they have a terrible HR department with an overinflated sense of ego. And again, if someone did overhear the conversation and OP tries to downplay it, they'll be in more trouble than if they simply come clean with their behavior.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 14:46
  • 2
    @Zibbobz if someone else overheard, it's just an opinion, eg, "gee I guess I must have over done the response. Sorry about that". So what? And in my experience, HR staff DO have an overinflated view of themselves. It's the feeling of power (being able to see private info and ask personal questions etc) that corrupts them, So yeah, plenty of HR people are "terrible". And OP has a fight on his hands. If he's unlucky, the HR person will cause him lots of grief because they can.
    – Bohemian
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 15:21
  • 5
    @Bohemian: actually I think you did advocate to lie. You say, "deny you snapped", whereas the questioner says, "I snapped at her briefly". Now, if you're recommending to lie as a tactic to avoid punishment then that's pretty bold for this site and you may be in a minority, but it's certainly an approach that has worked for a lot of criminals in the past when they were on trial, so it might just work for the questioner too. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 20:22

As several people have already stated, you should definitely go - but also consider why you are being asked to go.

While you may not have indicated that a sit-down was required, you are not the only party in this exchange - your co-worker probably requested this sit-down in the first place.

Be polite, but be honest, and press the truth if (but only if) your co-worker presents any falsehoods about the exchange.

Most of this exchange happened over email, so you have some grounds to at least show what really happened - you snapping at her, however, was a one-on-one exchange, so you cannot really put any leverage on that exchange. Be patient, and do not push anything you cannot back up with hard facts.

If you don't trust yourself to speak honestly and back your own actions up, do not speak unless required, and, hopefully, the whole issue will resolve itself with a brief one-on-one about appropriate office behavior.

  • "your co-worker probably requested this sit-down" - I would guess the same thing, but I wonder whether it's also worth considering the odds that neither of them wants to talk to the other, but that one or both of their managers, or someone in HR considers that an unacceptable state of affairs, and plans to bang their heads together. I mean this to look on the bright side: it's at least possible the other person hates this as much as the questioner. Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 21:20

Yes, go.

but I'm not too happy that HR is forcing me to go sit in a room with the person.

That's exactly the right approach.

Also, realize a key thing that you did, which did not work out well for you. You wrote this in writing.

Bohemiam's answer has some positive aspects, but I'd remove the aspects of trying to deny. (Don't be dishonest.)

which was the recommended course by my supervisor

Your supervisor provided advice that may have sounded good, but it just did not work out good for you. (Whether this worked out the way your supervisor intended, or not, is unclear. Maybe your supervisor is more concerned about you being corrected, or maybe the supervisor was trying to do everything to please people so this would calm down. Unfortunately, it ended up being fuel, fanning the flames of a fire which has grown, and might grow further.)

Whether you're trying to communicate to the person in writing (on paper), in E-Mail, indirectly through HR, lawyers, etc., be careful not to communicate bad things in a way that will make an official record. This is why people say that when you get in a car accident or get accused of a crime, don't admit guilt to a police officer. (Even if you're guilty, especially don't do this on the same day.) [See footnote 1] Just remain silent, if you have to. Sometimes there may be surprising facts that are in your favor, and things could go better for you than expected, but those facts just don't count as much as an official record that works against you. So don't contribute to the creation of such official records.

In the future, try to apologize verbally (when you are presumably not being recorded), because then if the person does try to use things against you, they can only produce their reproduction based on their recollection of what you said. That may still be condemning, but often not as condemning as a self-created admission of guilt.

As for this meeting with HR, go. When I worked at a company with an HR department, HR was in charge of hiring, firing, promotions and other position transfers. Being on their bad side provides no advantages, so try to be cooperative, at least minimally. For instance, show up to this meeting. Even if your entire computer network goes down, show up to the meeting. (Make sure you have a co-worker back up.) And if the entire computer network does go down that day, tell the HR person that you wish to re-schedule due to the emergency that will affect the business. But let the HR staff decide whether to make the right decision, or to force you to attend that meeting at that exact time. Do what HR says...

... except, don't do anything to dig yourself in a deeper hole. Do not write additional material that signifies your guilt. HR may get involved if there is a lawsuit or an apparent potential lawsuit. Depending on the scenario and details like where you live, you might get sued personally. You shouldn't have to do anything to cause yourself potential further trouble, so don't. You might be required to sign a statement where you acknowledge that statements or other facts have been presented to you. Fine. Avoid that if you can, but if you must, then do. Don't create new material that could be used as an official statement made by you.

If people ask why you're not cooperating with trying to appease the emotions of the other person (a.k.a., make them happy), you can explain that you do not wish to continue using this formal process any more than what is required, as increasing the formal records (related to this matter) is unlikely to be personally beneficial to yourself. Any genuine concerns about trying to "make up" are preferred to be done without a person who represents any role of authority over you.

At this point, I suggest you may want to have a witness if this heated topic will be discussed further, but have this biased person be someone who is friendly to you, and make sure there is agreement that people won't be recording what you say against you. If this person comes to your IT office, let the person know that you won't be discussing this with them alone. Neither alone, nor around someone who is expected to make a formal record of the conversation. Such scenarios are too risky of generating additional problems for you.

[footnote 1] - If you have the time, check out video (Youtube) - Regent University School of Law - Don't Talk to the Police [time-jumped to 26min19sec] showing a class where a professor just gave a bunch of reasons why not to talk to the police, and then a visiting police officer provides his opinions about how much he agrees with that stance.

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